More than sad, I am distraught. Kindergarten was not easy for me. And to be perfectly honest, part of me is relieved that it’s over. As I look back over the year, what I see are all my own shortcomings and failures. I see my anxiety. How I worried about whether my daughter was getting her needs met or not.
I see my own insecurity about connection. Should I have been more engaged? More engaging? Should I have called more parents for playdates? Is my daughter being left out socially because of my reluctance and our family schedule? These are questions that usually lurk somewhere in the back of my mind. Today, however, they are up front and center.
As I stand in line at the coffeehouse where I am spending my morning, a young mother stands in front of me with her baby. Maybe 6 months old. With the plump arms of babyhood. I want to reach out and hold that baby. I want to reach out and hold my daughter at 6 months. But today is a solid reminder that time moves in one direction and that the little girl that my daughter was is not the calm, confident 6 year old who I dropped off for her last day of kindergarten.
I want to tell myself that her experience was good enough. But what I really want is to tell myself that I was good enough. I want someone to tell me that I wasn’t too overbearing or too passive. That I did the best I could and it was all good enough.
Good enough. What the hell does that even mean? Is it about outcomes? The process? The experience as a whole?
And just to be clear. The outcomes are fine. My daughter did well academically and seems to be okay socially. She likes school. Her first words to me today were bemoaning that today is her last day with this teacher. Quickly followed by telling me that she is not ready for first grade. She is adamant that she is NOT going on any two night camping trips in 2nd grade. I assure her that we don’t need to worry about 2nd grade today. We have a couple of years. And I remind us both that the end of kindergarten is also the beginning of summer.
Speaking of summer, the Happy Mindful Family Book Club starts on Tuesday.